Despite the look of that picture above (suggested caption: Denny: "Can't we talk about this?" Kyle: "I don't even know who you are anymore!"), these are fine days at Joe Gibbs Racing.
JGR is coming off an exceptional Texas weekend-plus-one in which Hamlin won the Sprint Cup race, Busch won the Nationwide race, and team owner Joe Gibbs, against all odds, was inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame.
For all the talk about how Hendrick Motorsports is dominating the sport -- and, yeah, it kinda is -- JGR is quietly building itself into a force for 2011 and beyond. Right now, Kyle sits 6th in the standings, with Hamlin 11th. And in what may be the biggest surprise, Joey Logano is coming along faster than anyone expected, and now sits tied with ex-JGR'er Tony Stewart for 12th.
Top to bottom, the JGR drivers are legit competitors, which is more than you can say for most teams. And here's a bit of food for thought: there's still one space open in the Gibbs garage. Gibbs has long resisted expanding for the sake of expanding, but what could make them take that next step?
Just for the sake of starting a little discussion, what if Kevin Harvick came to Gibbs? Then, starting in 2012, you'd have a Gibbs-Hendrick throwdown that'd be a rivalry on the level of Celtics-Lakers. Check this:
Gotta say, I'm not seeing a clear winner in that showdown. How about you?
Sure, it's a long shot, perhaps an impossible one, but a four-star Gibbs team would be about all we could hope for to halt the four-star Hendrick domination.